Hawks Football: A behind-the-scenes look at an inspiring season


Cherish Sellers, Staff Writer

As the Hawks football season of 2022 comes to an end, I want to recognize the team’s growth, challenges, and dedication. As a manager, I’ve watched his team create a strong foundation of success through various trials and tribulations.

The team had a great opportunity to face the Fremd Vikings this football season. The team had a great victory when they defeated the Vikings this fall, demonstrating their skills of concentration, motivation, goal setting, commitment, and communication. These skills are what gained this team a final score of 42 to 25 against the Vikings.

As a team entered the last game before the playoffs against the Palatine Pirates, the end result of the game was not as fortunate. The team took a devastating loss against the Pirates, but failure is not fatal, and you only fail when someone knocks you down and you refuse to get back up. The Hawks took that loss as a lesson and knew exactly how to react to it.

The team, in true fashion, bounced back with great motivation and learned how to critique their minor mistakes. Going into the playoff season, the Hawks knew it was time to level up. The standards are high for the Hawks and not putting in 100% effort is not an option for this team.

“Going into the playoffs [felt] good,” said Damarion Anderson, senior. Anderson said reaching the playoffs truly showed we wanted to be competitors.

Yes the goal is to win, but in success you won’t win every time. Everything is not all about winning; it’s about making an effort to win and being hungry for what you deserve. The Hawks stayed mentally prepared for whatever was thrown at them this playoff season, whether it was good or bad.

The first round of the playoffs the Hawks had a great opportunity when they faced Elk Grove High School. This was a very intense game for not only the team but the supporters as well.

As the Hawks headed into the end of second quarter, they knew that there had to be a change. The score was a little shaky and they knew they had to push ten times harder.

“What was going through my head is that this was going to be the last time the seniors could ever play football again in high school, and I wanted to do everything that I could to make sure it didn’t happen,” said Nathan Cleveland, sophomore.

After hydrating and fueling up during halftime the Hawks prepared for a game-changing comeback in the third and fourth quarter. The Hawks gave 120% and knew what it would take to move on to the next round of playoffs.

As the Hawks dove into fourth quarter, all eyes were on the field and bodies were locked in. The team had a close call, but with the help of Dimarte Neustadter, junior, the team was moving forward. Neustadter scored the touchdown game changer, bringing the score to 22-29 and giving the Hawks a victory.

It was an amazing feeling to be a part of the Hawks win against the Grenadiers. And although there was a desperate need to congratulate and celebrate, the team knew it wasn’t long until they would have the lock back in because they knew the next round was just getting harder.

The Hawks bounced back from a great celebration and were more determined than ever. The practices were phenomenal and the effort was bright. Each and every member of the team practiced each day like it was their last.

The practices during the whole week of round two of playoffs had the Hawks working harder than ever before. They refused to give up. They handled every challenge thrown at them. They fought until satisfied.

The Hawks faced St. Charles North, during round two in the playoffs on Saturday, November 5, 2022. They were ready to put up a fight.

“I kept thinking to myself this might be my last game, so I have to put my all into it,” said Kehinde Akintunde, senior. “I don’t want to stop playing with my brothers and have to do my job to make sure I don’t regret anything down the road.”

It was a tussle between the two teams but everyone’s hunger that afternoon was shown on the field, and the energy was extremely high.

Unfortunately, the Hawks did not take the win that afternoon. Both teams worked extremely hard and gave it their all. A huge congratulations to everyone who stepped on the field that afternoon, and to everyone that helped cheer them on along the way.

“Right after I felt angry because I know I could of done better as a player and felt at fault that it was my and my team’s last game,” said James Stevens, seniors, “but I also felt proud to see how much my team and I have grown in all aspects. I know it’s not my last time playing, so I’m looking forward in life.”

To the seniors, we are more than grateful for the hard work you all put into this team to make things better. The team wouldn’t be this way without you all.

“Bringing the team together and making everyone laugh and have a good time…that’s where I
stand,“ said Anderson.

Since the beginning, I’ve watched his team blossom into something great. From the long practices, the mistakes, the challenges, the good days, and the bad days. This team will be one I’ll never forget.

As much as we all know the seniors will do anything to step on this field one last time, they have to move on and level up. Every single last one of them brought nothing but greatness to this team. You all were a fantastic role model to the underclassmen and a brother to many.

As a manager, this team gave me a chance to make tremendous amount of notes, notes on a how even though you have one bad day that does not mean don’t show up tomorrow, how if you see wrong do right, make sure you always uplift one another, never let anyone change your character or team because of the bad sportsmanship they may have.

The Hawks never went down without a fight. Even through the toughest days they made it through the rain. The Hawks had a great sense of self belief and hard work. That is why they earned the amount of success they did this season.

“TPW taught me that in order to be successful in life I have to be mentally tough enough to withstand uncomfortable situations in and outside of my control,” said Julian Bonilla, senior. “With college coming up I am more than confident. I know I am ready to take on any obstacle that may await me. TPW is a way of life and without it I wouldn’t be half of the man I am today nor who I am yet to become.”

As the boys enter their off-season they are taking what they presented this year and making it
even better for the next. Each member will continue to improve mentally and physically and
make sure they make the best of their off-season so they can come back prepared and ready to
go again.